Made with local ripe strawberries, pea vines, and whole-leaf baby lettuce, this sprightly salad nearly screams SUMMER.
In the Northwest, we are blessed with climate and soil that produce spectacular strawberries.
At local farmers markets, we can choose from several varieties, including Hood, Albion, Honoyeye, Seascape, and Queen Ann. (Check out my Fresh Strawberry Primer.)
Each week during strawberry season (which now extends all summer, thanks to new varieties), I taste what’s available and choose the sweetest, juiciest berries I can find.
This week, I grabbed several cartons of Hood strawberries and then noticed a gorgeous tangle of pea vines and neatly stacked row of baby lettuce nearby. This recipe nearly wrote itself.
Strawberry, Baby Lettuce & Pea Vine Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Syrup
This beautiful salad literally screams SUMMER. But it must be made with local, juicy, ripe strawberries and crisp, whole-leaf baby lettuce for optimal deliciousness. There’s something about serving a salad with whole lettuce leaves that makes it extra dramatic. And if you can get your hands on culinary-grade (no pesticides used) edible flowers for garnish, you’ll WOW everyone at the table.
Strawberry Balsamic Syrup
Labne (lob-nay) Crema (recipe below)
Honey Mint Vinaigrette (recipe below)
1 head baby red romaine, small inner leaves only
1 head baby butter lettuce, small inner leaves only
handful pea vines, cut into edible lengths with a scissor
1 pint ripe, local strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
2 baby cucumbers, trimmed and sliced
½ small red onion, skinned, and sliced paper thin, preferably on a mandolin
fresh mint springs
handful of culinary-grade pansies, violas, or nasturtiums, optional
black pepper, in a grinder
- Prepare Strawberry Balsamic Syrup, Lebne Crema, and Honey Mint Vinaigrette. (Making this salad is a breeze if you have these components on hand in the fridge. So make ahead if you can.)
- On each large salad plate, smear a generous spoonful of Lebne Crema down the center, and drizzle Strawberry Balsamic Syrup to either side of it.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss lettuce leaves (left whole) pea vines, strawberries, cucumber, and onion with enough of the dressing to lightly coat the salad.
- Arrange salad on each plate, tuck in fresh mint sprigs and pansies if using, and grind pepper on top.
- To eat, drag each bite of salad through the bottom of the plate, for a symphony of flavors and textures.
Makes 2 salads.
Honey Mint Vinaigrette
You won’t need all of this dressing, but it’s great to have on hand for other salads throughout the week.
Ingredient Note Another fragrant honey can be used here; wild huckleberry or blackberry are also very good. You choose.
¼ cup best-quality white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons wild flower honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
several fresh mint leaves, minced
1 clove garlic, peeled, and minced
fine sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil (or half-and-half combination of olive oil and vegetable oil)
- In a small mixing bowl, combine vinegar, honey, mustard, mint, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk to combine.
- Add oil, and whisk until emulsified.
- Use immediately or refrigerate. Bring to cool room temperature and whisk again just before using.
Makes about 1¼ cups.
½ cup labne (soft yogurt cheese)
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- In a small mixing bowl, combine labne and salt.
- Refrigerate until needed.
Makes ½ cup.
More LunaCafe Spring & Summer Salads
- Baby Red Potato Salad with Applewood Smoked Bacon & Oregon Blue
- Cabbage Slaw with Fresh Ginger, Garam Masala & Roasted Peanuts
- Grilled Prawn, Roasted Baby Tomato & Chipotle Mustard Bread Salad
- Heirloom Tomato, Sweet Onion & Mache Salad with Blue Cheese Crema
- Indian Summer Tomato, Orange & Sweet Onion Salad
- Lemon & Thyme Marinated Artichoke, Tiger Prawn & Strawberry Salad
- My Tabouleh
- Northwest Early Spring Farro & Lentil Salad
- Old-Fashioned Creamy Macaroni Salad
- Prawn & Strawberry Salad with Fresh Herb Panna Cotta
- Red & Orange Bell Pepper Salad with Mint, Parsley & Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette
- Spanish Broccoli & Prawn Salad
- Spicy Penne & Chicken Salad with Chipotle Lime Dressing
- Summer Tomato, Sweet Onion & Blackberry Salad with Basil Mint Crema
- Sweet Cherry & Pea Vine Salad with Basil & Mint
- Tuscan Melon & Blackberry Salad with Prosciutto & Yogurt Chevre Dressing
- Warm Cauliflower Salad with Edamame & Raisins
Copyright 2015 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.
Perfect! I love the color, the vibrancy, and the fact that we have nearly everything needed for this salad in the fridge or the garden right now!
A work of art on a plate! Perfect timing as strawberries are now in season!
This salad is absolutely beautiful. I love all the fresh summer flavors in it too.
What a beautiful salad. I LOVE strawberries and balsamic together, so know I would go crazy for this!
This salad is just a stunner! Delicious combination to add labne! This salad I bet is perfect for summer or BBQ.
Sandi Gaertner (
Fresh strawberries are the best. Your salad is beautiful. I love your addition of edible flowers to this salad…it makes it so eye catching.
Wow Susan, that’s a pretty salad, love all the vibrant colors!